According to an email to the CU Marching Band Alumni Association from association director Sam Rowan, members of the Band leadership met yesterday with Chief Librarian and Vice Provost Ann Thornton. Thornton informed them that the Band would not be allowed to hold Orgo Night in Butler 209. Orgo Night, the Band’s traditional end-of-semester event critiquing events at Columbia during the past semester and bringing the community together, has been held in this room in Butler on the last night of Reading Week for decades. This semester’s Orgo Night is happening this Thursday, at 11:59pm.
As for reasons behind this change, Thornton said that she was concerned about the disruption Orgo Night causes to students right before final exams. She suggested that the Band move their event to Roone Arledge Auditorium, in Lerner.
We have reached out to the Band, and were told that they will be releasing a statement with more details on the situation soon. We will update this post once we receive that statement.
UPDATE as of 7:19 pm, 12/13/16: Liz Pudel, BC ‘18 and Head Manager of the Band, has sent us an official statement on behalf of the Band’s Board that provides more details on their meetings with Vice Provost Ann Thornton, as well as their response to the prohibition.
The statement explains that members of the Board have met with Vice Provost Thornton and Provost John Coatsworth twice in the past week. During their first meeting last Wednesday, they were told that Orgo Night could no longer take place in Butler because of its disruptive nature; they argued with the decision, and this meeting ended with an agreement to take the weekend to consider possible compromises and meet again on Monday. Then, during yesterday’s meeting, the Band offered several concessions, but Coatsworth and Thornton were unwilling to consider them, and did not offer concessions of their own. The Band leaders were “shocked and blindsided by their unwillingness to compromise as per [both parties’] agreement in the previous meeting,” and “disturbed and disappointed with the blatant lack of respect for what has become a widely-beloved campus tradition.”
The Board then went on to state that “the administration’s reluctance to even consider [the Band’s] proposals combined with the lack of prudence on their part in informing [the Band] in a timely and appropriate fashion has put incredible strain on [them] in finding alternative arrangements.” They also cited Orgo Night’s long history; this event dates back to 1975 in its Butler 209 location. The Band chose Butler, this statement says, because “Butler Library is an iconic location on campus, and in choosing to enter Butler, the Band disrupts not just a library but also this campus’s pervasive stress culture.” The Band members wrote that Orgo Night’s “benefits as a destressing mechanism and a community-building event far outweigh the cost of disrupting one reading room in one of the many study spaces on campus for less than an hour.”
The statement concludes by calling out Provost and Vice Provost on their disrespect towards their students and misplaced priorities. “Not only are they undermining decades worth of tradition,” the Board wrote, “but they are also making it clear to Columbia at large that fostering a community is not their priority.” Finally, the Band vowed to “keep fighting the good fight against the War on Fun.”
UPDATE as of 8:31 pm, 12/13/16: The Band has released their second round of posters, several of which are in response to their prohibition from Butler. These posters have been added below the jump.
The Band causing disturbance via their Facebook page